Emma’s journey with chronic pain began in 1999. “I was involved in two car accidents, separated six months to the day.” The immediate pain started as you might expect with whiplash and back pain, but Emma’s health quickly deteriorated.
She began to notice strange sensations and discomfort. Her mental health was affected. It was when she suddenly lost sight in her right eye that she started investigating further.
Fighting for a diagnosis
“There’s all sorts in my family: Parkinson’s, cancer, arthritis… I started down the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) route until an MRI came back clear.”
Emma was made to feel that her pain was all in her head and told she was wasting time. A string of unfortunate consultations, second and third opinions made Emma feel like nobody wanted to know. “It made me feel rubbish. I just wanted a solution.”
Unconvinced of the MRI diagnosis and knowing something was off, Emma kept pulling at the MS thread. After a lucky encounter with a neurologist who Emma felt understood her and her case, he agreed to perform a lumbar puncture on Emma, even though he expected it to be clear.
To his amazement it came back confirming a diagnosis of MS. Emma has since been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Functional Neurological Disorder, Type 2 Diabetes and Chronic Fatigue (ME).
Trying it all
On top of prescription medication such as pregabalin and morphine, Emma has tried almost everything over the years. “Different joint supports, salt inhalers, back supports, things to stop tremors, supplements. Literally everything. I didn’t find anything that worked much.”
She even struggled at times to separate the side effects of her prescription medication from the symptoms of her conditions.
Emma found herself sleeping the majority of the day and night. This, her medication and reduced mobility made an impact on her life and work. “I wanted to do so much, but couldn’t. Things like going for a walk to the woods or beach or going on holiday. There were blockers.”
A path to a brighter future
One evening four months ago Emma stumbled across Leva while searching for medical cannabis treatment online. Since joining the clinic, her consultant is slowly starting to reduce her prescription medication. She’s been prescribed medical cannabis and checks-in every three months to chat about progress and how she’s feeling.
“It’s an absolute God-send and made a huge difference. I’m out more than I have been before, I’m starting to feel a little bit more able. I feel a lot better on the inside too - less drunk and dizzy.”
Before joining Leva she would have rated her pain 8/9 out of 10. Since joining, it’s come down to 5/6.
What does the future hold as a result? Emma’s hopeful she’ll be able to go to her son’s graduation in person soon - a significant milestone for her.
Emma is a real patient of Leva Clinic. We’ve been working with her since January 2023. She’s not received any financial reward or incentive to share her story. She’s doing so in the hope that it will be informative and inspiring for others. Photo by Devan Freeman on Unsplash.